Alan Wake 2 on PC is an embarrassment of riches

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Alan Wake 2 is stuffed pinch PC tech. It feels for illustration 1 of nan existent next-gen games that we’ve seen connected PC, short of remakes like Portal RTX and updates like Cyberpunk 2077. From way tracing to framework procreation to AI-powered denoisers, Alan Wake 2 shows disconnected what PC has to connection successful 2023, moreover if that intends leaving little powerful rigs down successful this dust.

Although nan crippled itself is straightforward enough, its capacity connected PC is thing but. Alan Wake 2 is a stunning showcase pinch high-end hardware and each of nan modern bells and whistles enabled, but it’s a slog connected lower-end machines that autumn extracurricular of its demanding minimum hardware requirements. There’s bully and bad here, and aft spending immoderate clip pinch nan game, we request to analyse both.

With 3 group playing nan crippled present astatine Digital Trends, we did brushwood 1 bug that would hard-lock progression, but I wasn’t capable to recreate it. Still, location are different reports of akin issues, ranging from losing 30 minutes of progression to afloat resetting nan game, truthful support those successful mind if you want to prime up nan crippled connected merchandise day.

Low isn’t bad

The strategy requirements for Alan Wake 2.Remedy Entertainment

A popular Reddit thread circulated aft nan merchandise of Alan Wake 2′s strategy requirements, claiming that only 7% of PC gamers will beryllium capable to tally nan crippled astatine 1080p astatine 60 frames per 2nd (fps). That’s not true. I tested 5 graphics cards pinch nan game: nan RTX 4090, RTX 4070, RX 7600, RTX 2060 Super, and nan RX 5700. I was capable to deed betwixt 40 fps and 60 fps pinch each of them without nan assistance of upscaling by adjusting nan solution and graphics settings.

Alan Wake 2 supports some DLSS 3.5 and FSR 2, and you’ll get a overmuch much accordant acquisition turning 1 of nan features on. It seems nan strategy requirements are providing a worst-case scenario, though. With nan RTX 2060 Super, for example, I only dipped down to 30 fps erstwhile astatine 1080p, while chiefly hovering successful nan mid-40s. That was pinch nan crippled group to its High preset without upscaling.

We request to talk astir nan value presets, too. Unlike astir games, Alan Wake 2 doesn’t person an “Ultra” preset. It includes Low, Medium, and High presets. Even nan Low preset looks great, truthful dissimilar what we’ve seen successful games like Diablo 4, there isn’t a “potato mode” for nan lowest-end hardware. There’s an statement location should be, but it’s clear Remedy intends for astir players to really usage nan graphics settings alternatively than default to nan highest and lowest presets.

There’s immoderate room pinch these presets arsenic well. With nan RTX 2060 Super, I was capable to execute betwixt 55 fps and 75 fps pinch nan Low preset. As you tin spot successful nan comparison changeable below, nan quality successful image value isn’t huge, and there’s a monolithic capacity uplift. This was astatine 1080p without upscaling arsenic well.

A comparison betwixt nan highest and lowest graphics preset successful Alan Wake 2.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I was capable to execute a akin capacity level by keeping each of nan settings maxed retired and falling backmost connected DLSS’ Performance mode. It doesn’t look awesome astatine 1080p, but it provided a akin level of capacity arsenic nan Low preset. It’s a prime your poison type of situation, but it’s bully to spot that astatine slightest PC players person options to amended their performance, dissimilar a game like Starfield, where hefty CPU requirements and constricted upscaling options intends you conscionable person to settee for little performance.

Still, Alan Wake 2 is very demanding. As for whether that hardware request is worthy nan ocular payoff, that’s up to you. It’s clear Remedy group retired to create a very dense, realistic world pinch Alan Wake 2, even if nan capacity connected lower-end hardware suffers arsenic a result. It whitethorn look small, but a bully illustration of that is nan leafage you tin spot below. It’s not clipping done nan stairs, but alternatively poking out, and nan early wood areas of nan crippled are dense pinch these bushes that move and respond to nan wind. It’s very immersive. Thankfully, you person options to amended performance, and pinch a crippled arsenic visually stunning arsenic Alan Wake 2, that’s astir nan astir PC players tin inquire for.

A leafage sticking retired betwixt stairs successful Alan Wake 2.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I would thin heavier connected nan graphics options if you don’t person an Nvidia GPU, however. FSR 2 is simply a bully fallback option, but it exhibits nan aforesaid instability successful good specifications that we’ve seen successful different games, which is only exaggerated astatine much utmost value modes and little resolutions.

As for PCs that autumn extracurricular of nan hardware requirements, you’re not going to person a bully clip with Alan Wake 2. I was capable to execute playable capacity connected hardware that conscionable met nan minimum requirements, but that acquisition doesn’t make maine hopeful for thing little powerful.

DLSS 3.5 is stunning

Alan Wake 2 is nan 2nd crippled we’ve seen pinch Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling 3.5 (DLSS 3.5). That includes Super Resolution, Frame Generation, and Ray Reconstruction, pinch Ray Reconstruction only being disposable if you move connected way tracing successful nan game. I’ll get to nan way tracing settings later successful this section.

This bundle of features is only supported connected RTX graphics cards, pinch Frame Generation being constricted to RTX 40-series GPUs. Alan Wake 2 also supports FidelityFX Super Resolution 2 for non-RTX GPUs, and you’ll request to person either DLSS aliases FSR turned on. Alan Wake 2 handles this successful a unusual way, though. With FSR 2, you tin still group nan crippled to autochthonal resolution, and pinch DLSS, autochthonal solution will alternatively usage Nvidia’s Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing (DLAA). There was immoderate interest that Alan Wake 2 requires upscaling. That isn’t nan case, but it’s clear nan crippled was designed astir having either DLSS aliases FSR turned on.

DLSS 3.5 is decidedly nan measurement to spell if you tin negociate it. You tin spot a premier illustration of that below. From left. you tin spot ray tracing turned off, ray tracing connected without Ray Reconstruction, and ray tracing connected pinch Ray Reconstruction. That setup is accordant passim nan screenshots here.

A array filled pinch plates successful Alan Wake 2.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Ray tracing besides does a batch to make nan lighting successful this segment much realistic. The condiment tray and napkins adjacent to nan model formed difficult shadows from nan nonstop light, while without ray tracing, shadows are simply implied. It’s stunning really Ray Reconstruction tin cleanable up nan last image, too. The shadows are overmuch sharper, arsenic is nan faint reflection of nan model successful nan table. There are besides mini specifications for illustration nan protector formed connected nan mini sheet adjacent nan mediate of nan table. It’s intelligibly a protector from thing down nan menu, which would different beryllium obfuscated without Ray Reconstruction.

The aforesaid holds existent for nonstop reflections. Alan Wake 2 uses immoderate screen-space reflections pinch ray tracing turned off, but it skips smaller reflective surfaces for illustration nan puddle adjacent nan separator of nan sidewalk you tin spot below. Once again, ray tracing brings that realism, and Ray Reconstruction clears up nan last image. It’s singular conscionable really overmuch much magnitude location is successful nan image pinch Ray Reconstruction.

A sidewalk puddle showing reflections successful Alan Wake 2.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Thankfully, nan crippled doesn’t look bad without ray tracing. In nan nighttime segment below, you tin spot really developer Remedy attempts to seizure nan aforesaid ambiance without ray tracing, moreover if nan ray-traced type looks better. Here, ray tracing helps transportation nan ray done nan thoroughfare fog successful a much realistic way, while Ray Reconstruction bolsters that pinch amended handling of nan obstruction details. Something you can’t spot successful this fixed image is really nan obstruction flickers a spot pinch Ray Reconstruction turned off.

A acheronian alley successful Alan Wake 2.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Alan Wake 2 achieves this level of realism pinch path tracing. In short, way tracing is simply a much demanding shape of ray tracing, but it mostly leads to much realistic lighting conditions. The measurement Alan Wake 2 handles way tracing is simply a small interesting, though. Unlike Cyberpunk 2077, where there’s a azygous toggle for way tracing, Alan Wake 2 includes 3 ray-tracing value modes. Here’s really they break down:

  • Low — nary way tracing
  • Medium — partial way tracing (one bounce), mean value for path-traced indirect lighting
  • High — afloat way tracing (three bounces), precocious value for path-traced indirect lighting

All of this comes pinch a monolithic capacity cost. Out of nan 5 GPUs I tested, only 2 were capable to grip ray tracing in Alan Wake 2. It’s nary coincidence that those 2 GPUs supported Nvidia’s Frame Generation tech, which is mandatory if you want to play pinch ray tracing astatine immoderate reasonable framework rates.

With nan RTX 4090, I was capable to deed astir 90 fps to 100 fps pinch DLAA and Frame Generation pinch each of nan settings maxed retired astatine 4K. With nan RTX 4070, I had to edifice to DLSS Performance mode to execute 60 fps astatine 4K, which occasionally dipped lower. If you’re moving thing older than an RTX 40-series graphics card, I would urge against turning connected ray tracing. It’s surely pretty, but nan crippled looks stunning moreover without each of nan ray tracing.

What astir mesh shaders?

A informing astir mesh shader support successful Alan Wake 2.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

There was an outcry soon aft Alan Wake 2‘s strategy requirements went live, which came down to nan truth that you would request an Nvidia RTX 20-series aliases AMD RX 6000-series GPU, aliases newer, to tally nan game. In a now-deleted tweet, a developer from Remedy explained this was owed to mesh shaders, locking retired older GPUs from being officially supported.

This led a batch of PC gamers to presume these cards simply wouldn’t activity pinch nan game, which isn’t nan case. I was capable to footwear up Alan Wake 2 and play it connected an RX 5700 without dire issues. The crippled didn’t tally great, but it worked. I was capable to deed betwixt 35 fps and 55 fps connected nan GPU pinch nan Medium preset astatine 1080p, and that was without upscaling.

A tweet from an Alan Wake 2 developer.X/Twitter

If you person a GPU that isn’t supported, you’ll get a informing erstwhile you motorboat nan game, but it will still boot. You’ll conscionable acquisition little performance. The RTX 2060 Super I tested was capable to mean betwixt 40 fps and 60 fps astatine 1080p High, contempt nan truth that nan RX 5700 is faster successful astir different games. If you’re sitting connected an RX 5000 aliases GTX 10-series GPU, aliases older, it’s astir apt champion to hold connected Alan Wake 2 until you tin upgrade your PC, moreover if nan crippled will technically run.

No HDD support

A laptop mechanical difficult drive.Western Digital

For arsenic overmuch arsenic DLSS 3.5 shines in Alan Wake 2, the PC type has a number of issues. First and astir pressing is HDD support. The crippled doesn’t technically support spinning difficult drives, and aft conscionable a fewer minutes successful nan game, it’s clear why. The crippled will still tally and play conscionable good — based connected what hardware you person successful your PC, astatine slightest — but it will quickly move into a messiness pinch a spinning difficult drive. Load times, expectedly, return aggregate minutes connected a spinning difficult drive, and you’ll often person to hold for astatine slightest a infinitesimal erstwhile transitioning betwixt chapters.

The issues spell acold deeper, though. With a spinning difficult drive, audio tracks will desync from each other. That intends you’ll tally into issues wherever speech from a cutscene carries complete into gameplay, arsenic good arsenic facial animations not matching pinch nan voiceovers. The biggest problem was audio stuttering, though. It seems nan various audio tracks are each fighting pinch each different for bandwidth while being publication from nan drive, starring to situations wherever sound effects will abruptly extremity erstwhile speech starts, each earlier coming backmost aggregate seconds later. It’s bizarre and intelligibly not nan measurement Remedy intended players to acquisition Alan Wake 2. 

As mentioned, HDDs aren’t supported in Alan Wake 2, but if you don’t look astatine nan minimum strategy requirements, you’d ne'er cognize that. The crippled should pass players earlier loading that it should beryllium installed connected an SSD because nan acquisition is wholly surgery connected an HDD.

Texture issues

Alan Wake sitting astatine a table pinch a typewriter.Remedy Entertainment

Even pinch a top-spec PC, Alan Wake 2 has immoderate superior issues pinch texture pop-in. I tested nan crippled connected a fistful of rigs, including a top-of-the-line PC packing an RTX 4090, Core i9-13900K, and PCIe Gen4 storage. Even connected that PC, Alan Wake 2 showed clear texture pop-in issues.

They chiefly originate erstwhile transitioning quickly betwixt zones. The in-game paper — not nan region paper — is really a playable space, and you’ll beryllium popping successful and retired of it constantly. Each time, textures would return respective seconds to load in, moreover connected PCIe Gen 4 storage. The slower your storage, nan longer it takes for nan textures to load in. This is astir apt an rumor that could beryllium cleared up by DirectStorage, and I fishy Remedy developed nan crippled astir nan speedy retention interfaces disposable connected nan Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

I fishy this is related to nan rumor 1 of nan DT editors knowledgeable pinch a game-breaking bug, wherever assets wouldn’t load afloat erstwhile transitioning, causing nan crippled to break. As mentioned, I wasn’t capable to recreate nan problem, moreover pinch nan RTX 2060 Super and a spinning difficult drive, but it’s clear Alan Wake 2 has immoderate bottlenecks erstwhile it comes to streaming successful assets.

Occasional stuttering

Alan Wake 2 doesn’t person awesome stuttering issues, astatine slightest pinch an updated driver. I tested nan crippled primitively connected Nvidia’s existent driver, which doesn’t bring charismatic support for Alan Wake 2. With this driver, you’ll acquisition awesome stuttering issues erstwhile transitioning betwixt zones, peculiarly pinch Frame Generation turned on. Thankfully, those issues vanish erstwhile utilizing the Alan Wake 2 driver, truthful make judge to update.

Even pinch nan driver, I still encountered immoderate occasional traversal stutter. This erstwhile you deed an invisible loading area successful nan world, causing a stutter. These are fewer and acold between, thankfully, and chiefly originate pinch transitioning into larger areas of nan game. I didn’t acquisition immoderate shader stutter successful my 10 aliases truthful hours pinch nan game, thankfully.

We sewage nan bugs

A characteristic successful their default airs successful Alan Wake 2.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Alan Wake 2 isn’t perfectly polished connected PC, and you’ll brushwood immoderate bugs if you prime up nan crippled connected merchandise day. In summation to nan game-breaking bug I mentioned successful nan intro, I encountered immoderate characters successful their T-pose erstwhile backtracking to definite areas, arsenic good arsenic issues pinch collision connected objects.

Particularly erstwhile fighting enemies, I would sometimes beryllium pushed connected apical of thing successful nan situation for illustration a rogue trash container aliases bench. This would fastener my characteristic successful place, causing a fewer seconds of wildly sprinting to get disconnected immoderate point I was stuck on. In 1 case, I had to reload my save, and successful another, I had to unit nan crippled closed, losing astir 10 minutes of progression. I’m hopeful these bugs will beryllium worked retired pinch a spot connected merchandise day, but fixed nan semi-random quality of these things, it’s champion to hold a spot if you want a wholly polished experience.

Alan Wake 2 connected PC: nan verdict

Alan Wake pinch bloody teeth. Remedy Entertainment

You tin person 2 very different experiences in Alan Wake 2 depending connected nan hardware successful your PC. The crippled is reasonably unchangeable sloppy of hardware, but it’s still demanding. For lower-end PCs and those conscionable gathering nan minimum requirements, it’s champion to hold for an upgrade aliases settee for turning down settings. Even if nan PC merchandise doesn’t person glaring issues like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor or Cities: Skylines 2, it’s still very taxing, and lower-end hardware will often request to settee for framework rates beneath 60 fps.

On nan different hand, Alan Wake 2 is 1 of nan astir visually awesome games I’ve seen erstwhile utilizing high-end hardware. Path tracing and DLSS 3.5 look incredible, and Alan Wake 2 is 1 of nan fewer games we’ve seen successful nan past fewer years that provides a ocular payoff for playing connected nan astir powerful hardware connected nan market. There are still immoderate issues, pinch texture pop-in and a fistful of immersion-breaking bugs being nan cardinal problems, that I dream Remedy will reside successful a early update.

So, for those pinch high-end hardware, Alan Wake 2 is 1 to prime up, moreover conscionable for nan oculus candy. For lower-end and older machines, it mightiness beryllium champion to hold for an upgrade aliases to prime up nan crippled connected console.

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